“It’s a family tradition” was his answer when I asked him to tell me how he got into choppers. Shane Smith a boilermaker by trade and a grassroots chopper nut by design, is a proud Ohio motorcycle man with a family history of loving motorcycles. His first ride was a Harley Hummer, way back in 84, and though his interest turned heavily to skateboarding in his teens he came back into bikes full swing as he came of age.
A couple of things struck a cord with me as I interviewed Shane for this story about his industrial looking and hard ridden Sportster Chopper. I found it refreshing and unexpected to hear him say “I don’t care what you ride! It’s about what’s in your heart; the passion of riding and brotherhood should transcend brands or models”. I had to agree that you can’t always judge a book by its cover and sometimes dudes on cool bikes are not so cool with the snubbing of up and coming riders. We shared our thoughts and similar values about being respectful both up and down: Listening and seeking wisdom from grey beards while always being willing to help out new riders. We both agreed it's kind of a core principle to not being a dick…
Shane spends his time working hard to support his family but tries to make an appropriate amount of time available for riding, attending events, and charity work. This hands-on mentality is seen in his builds and his focus on garage built sleds that are functional. He built this particular Sportster way back in 2004 long before the sea of Sporty chops arrived on the scene and I think he is right to take some pride in the authenticity of that. Like most builds there’s a comical story behind this one. Shane travels a lot for work and when he was building this bike he was hauling it around from job site to job site and literally working on it in motel rooms after work.
The spec sheet on this one tells the tale well, lots of traditional lines and functional chopper style influenced by the very foundations of the culture. This bike was built to haul ass. The motor has been clean apart and tuned many times over until the beast behaved exactly as it should for Shane’s riding style.
His years working at the various Harley dealers came in handy but he said, but truthfully the bike has been in progress for 10 years. Always learning, always tweaking and dialing in until Its finally a machine he would not hesitate to run across the country time and time again. Shane says that people in the current surge in chopper culture have to remember it's not all about selfies and looking cool! When we talked about the kind of miles that Shane manages to lay down even with a wife and baby and he said it's not easy but he needs it. Seat time keeps him sane! If you want to roll with this guy you have to ride and be willing to lay down miles, because that’s what its all about!
Photos by Nick Amrhein
Owner name, location: Shane Smith, Toledo Ohio
Engine/tranny, year and make, model, modifications: 2000 Buell Thunderbolt modified thunderstorm heads balanced flywheels 536 cams modified thunder header cv carb with a yost tube & jets with a zippers thunderjet.
Frame/Rake: Wyatt Gatling hand peaned
Chassis Modification: Minimal fab tabs n mounts
Favorite thing about this bike: Motherfucker is fast and handles extremely well. Wheelies n burnouts.
Wheels: 18×5 rear spoke 23×2.15 front spoke from a 79 honda modified to fit the standard axle.
I would like to thank all my wife n Willa G along with all my friends and family you know who you are you mean the world to me. I'm looking forward to the cities I've never been and the friends I haven't made yet. Special thanks to @nickamphoto for the pics. - Shane